CCOG for MTH 95 Summer 2024

Course Number:
MTH 95
Course Title:
Intermediate Algebra
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces algebraic concepts and processes with a focus on factoring, functions, rational expressions, solving equations (quadratic, rational, radical, absolute value), and solving inequalities. Emphasizes number-sense, applications, graphs, formulas, and proper mathematical notation. Recommended: MTH 63 or MTH 65 or MTH 70 be taken within the past 4 terms. The PCC math department recommends that students take MTH courses in consecutive terms. Audit available. Prerequisites: (MTH 63 or MTH 65 or MTH 70) and (RD 90 and WR 90) or IRW 90 or equivalent placement.

Addendum to Course Description

Access to a graphing utility will be required and a scientific calculator may be required.

Students are no longer required to have physical graphing calculators in MTH 60, 65, 70, 95, 111, or 112. Where physically possible instructors will demonstrate using Desmos, GeoGebra, or other online programs in class. Assessments requiring the use of a graphing utility may be done outside of the proctored exams.

There is a required notation addendum which may be found at

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Factor expressions and use factoring to simplify rational expressions and solve quadratic equations.
  2. Solve absolute value, quadratic, rational, radical equations, and compound inequalities both symbolically and graphically.
  3. Understand the definition of a function and use it to distinguish between function and non-function relationships.
  4. Interpret information provided in function notation given a function expressed in graphical, symbolic, numeric, or verbal form.
  5. Use variables to represent unknown quantities, create a function to model a situation, and use algebra and/or technology to find and interpret a result.
  6. Interpret properties of functions and relations, such as the meaning of ordered pairs, domain and range, maximum and minimum values, and intercepts.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Requirements

  1. The following must be assessed in a proctored, closed-book, no-note, and no-calculator setting:
    • factoring binomials and trinomials
    • solving quadratic equations by factoring
    • simplifying rational expressions
    • solving radical, linear, and rational equations
    • determining the domain of radical and rational functions
    • evaluating algebraic expressions that include function notation
  2. At least two proctored, closed-book, no-note examinations (one of which is the comprehensive final) must be given. These exams must consist primarily of free response questions although a limited number of multiple choice and/or fill-in-the-blank questions may be used where appropriate.
  3. Assessment must include evaluation of the student's ability to arrive at correct conclusions using proper mathematical procedures and notation. Application problems must be answered in complete sentences.
  4. At least two of the following additional measures must also be used
    1. Graded homework
    2. Quizzes
    3. Projects
    4. In-class activities
    5. Portfolios
    6. Writing assignments
    7. Discussion posts

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Introduction to functions and function notation
  • Algebraic manipulation necessary to move onto college level mathematics
  1. Functions
    1. Determine whether a relation is a function when the given relation is expressed algebraically, graphically, numerically and/or within real-world contexts by applying the definition of a function.
    2. Domain and Range
      1. Use the definition of domain and range to determine the domain and range of functions represented graphically, numerically, and verbally.
      2. Determine the domain of a function given algebraically.
      3. State the domain and range in both interval and set notation.
      4. Understand how the context of a function used as a model can limit the domain and the range.
    3. Function Notation
      1. Evaluate functions with given inputs using function notation where functions are represented graphically, algebraically, numerically and verbally (e.g. evaluate \(f(7)\)).
      2. Distinguish between different expressions such as \(f(x+2)\), \(f(x)+2\), \(3f(x)\), and \(f(3x)\), and simplify each.
      3. Interpret \(f(a)=b\) in the appropriate context (e.g. interpret \(f(3)=5\) where \(f\) models a real-world function) and understand that \(f(2)\) is a number not a point.
      4. Solve function equations where functions are represented graphically, algebraically, numerically and verbally (i.e. solve \(f(x)=b\) for \(x\)).
  2. Factoring Polynomials
    1. Factor the greatest common factor from a polynomial.
    2. Factor a polynomial of four terms using the grouping method.
    3. Factor trinomials that have leading coefficients of 1.
    4. Factor trinomials that have leading coefficients other than 1.
    5. Factor differences of squares.
  3. Rational Functions
    1. Determine the domain of rational functions algebraically and graphically.
    2. Simplify rational functions, understanding that domain conditions lost during simplification must be noted.
    3. Perform operations on rational expressions (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) and express the final result in simplified form.
    4. Simplify complex rational expressions. Methods will include at least the LCD method.
  4. Solving Equations and Inequalities Algebraically
    1. Solve quadratic equations using the zero product principle.
    2. Solve quadratic equations that have real and complex solutions using the square root method.
    3. Solve quadratic equations that have real and complex solutions using the quadratic formula.
    4. Solve quadratic equations that have real and complex solutions by completing the square (in simpler cases, where \(a=1\), and \(b\) is even).
    5. Solve rational equations.
    6. Solve absolute value equations.
    7. Solve equations (linear, quadratic, rational, radical, absolute value) in a mixed problem set.
      1. Determine how to proceed in the solving process based on equation given.
      2. Determine when extraneous solutions may result. (Consider using technology to demonstrate that extraneous solutions are not really solutions).
    8. Check solutions to equations algebraically.
    9. Solve a rational equation with multiple variables for a specific variable.
    10. Solve applications involving quadratic and rational equations (including distance, rate, and time problems and work rate problems).
      1. Variables used in applications should be well defined.
      2. Conclusions should be stated in sentences with appropriate units.
    11. Algebraically solve function equations of the forms:
      1. \(f(x)=b\) where \(f\) is a linear, quadratic, rational, radical, or absolute value function.
      2. \(f(x)=g(x)\) where \(f\) and \(g\) are functions such that the equation does not produce anything more difficult than a quadratic or linear equation once a fraction is cleared or a root is removed if one exists.
    12. Solve compound linear inequalities algebraically.
      1. Forms solved should include:
        1. the union of two linear inequalities ("or" statement).
        2. the intersection of two linear inequalities ("and" statement).
        3. a three-sided inequality like \(a\lt f(x)\lt b\) where \(f(x)\) is a linear expression with \(a\) and \(b\) constants.
      2. Solution sets should be expressed in interval notation.
  5. Graphing Concepts
    1. Brief review of graphs of linear functions, including finding the formula of the function given two ordered pairs in function notation.
    2. Graph quadratic functions by hand.
      1. Review finding the vertex with the formula (\(h=-\frac{b}{2a}\)).
      2. Complete the square to put a quadratic function in vertex form.
      3. Given a quadratic function in vertex form, observe the vertical shift and horizontal shift from the graph of \(y=x^2\).
      4. State the domain and range of a quadratic function.
    3. Review finding horizontal and vertical intercepts of linear and quadratic functions by hand, expressing them as ordered pairs in abstract examples and interpreting them using complete sentences in application examples.
    4. Solve equations graphically with technology.
    5. Explore functions graphically with technology.
      1. Find function values.
      2. Find vertical and horizontal intercepts.
      3. Find the vertex of a parabola.
      4. Create an appropriate viewing window.
    6. Graphically solve absolute value and quadratic inequalities (e.g. \(f(x)\lt b\), \(f(x)\gt b\)) where \(f\) is an absolute value function when:
      1. given the graph of the function.
      2. using technology to graph the function.
    7. Solve function inequalities graphically given \(f(x)\lt b\), \(f(x)\gt b\), \(f(x)\gt g(x)\), and \(a\lt f(x)\lt b\) where \(f\) and \(g\) should include but not be limited to linear functions.
Instructional Guidance

Functions should be studied symbolically, graphically, numerically and verbally.

As much as possible, instructors should present functions that model real-world problems and relationships to address the content outlined on this CCOG.

Function notation is emphasized and should be used whenever it is appropriate in the course.

Students should be required to use proper mathematical language and notation. This includes using equal signs appropriately, labeling and scaling the axes of graphs appropriately, using correct units throughout the problem solving process, conveying answers in complete sentences when appropriate, and in general, using the required symbols correctly.

Students should understand the fundamental differences between expressions and equations including their definitions and proper notations.

All mathematical work should be organized so that it is clear and obvious what techniques the student employed to find their answer. Showing scratch work in the middle of a problem is not acceptable.

For complex rational expressions, simplify the forms \(\frac{a}{\frac{b}{c}+\frac{d}{e}}\) and \(\frac{\frac{a}{b}}{\frac{c}{d}+\frac{e}{f}}\), where \(a\), \(b\), \(c\), \(d\), \(e\), and \(f\) represent real numbers, polynomials in one variable, or quadratic polynomials in one variable.